Want to see what Grand Rapids was like in the 1890s? Having an urge to see our sky as it was hundreds of years ago? Look no further than the Grand Rapids Public Museum. This beloved institution moved into its current location in 1994 after a generous donation from Jay Van Andel. Come with us as we take you inside the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum was founded in 1854, and is one of the oldest history museums in the United States. The museum’s campus includes the museum, a carousel over the Grand River, the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium and the Museum School. The GRPM has a wide variety of collections and exhibits. There is literally something for everybody! Some of the coolest things here are the 1928 Spillman Carousel, which is ever-popular with children, and features over 50 hand-painted animals to ride while overlooking the Grand River; the Streets of Old Grand Rapids exhibit which is a life-size replica of what Grand Rapids looked like in the late 1800s; the massive whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling; the recreated animal exhibits and much, much more.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum also plays host to the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. The planetarium is named after native son Roger B. Chaffee, who was an astronaut and tragically dies aboard the Apollo 1 spacecraft in 1967. The planetarium allows visitors to step back in time and see all the visible stars under dark skies and explore our galaxy. Current shows playing at the museum include: Secrets of the Sun, Escher’s Universe, Eclipses and Phases of the Moon and Under Starlit Skies. One of the coolest shows in recent memory, Dark Side: The Light Show takes Pink Floyd’s album, Dark Side of the Moon, and puts graphics in the dome to the music. It is far out!
We strongly urge you to pay the museum a visit, and explore the history of Grand Rapids and much, much more. Museum hours are generally 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with extended hours on Tuesday and reduced hours on Sunday. Admission is only $5.00 for Kent County residents, $3.00 for Kent County students and seniors and free for children. Parking is alo free with the purchase of admission.